The low cost of setting up shop on the Internet has also led to many small business start ups aimed at niches. The recipe for Internet niche success: Choose a hard-to-find product that customers do not need to see and touch. This â€?Webpreneurâ€? followed the recipe with astonishing results.
Whereas Internet giants like Amazon.com struggled to realize a profit, Steve Warrington is earning a six-figure income selling ostriches and every product derived from them online. Since the site was launched for next to nothing in 1996, Warringtonâ€™s business has sold to over 20,000 clients in over 125 countries from a catalog of more than 17,500 ostrich related products. Visitors to the site can buy ostrich meat, feathers, leather jackets, videos, eggshells, and subscribe to a newsletter devoted to ostriches.
Target marketing is leading to marketing programs tailored to the needs and wants of local customer groups (trading areas, neighborhoods, even individual stores). Citibank provides different mixes of banking services in its branches, depending on neighborhood demographics. Kraft helps supermarket chains identify the cheese assortment and shelf positioning that will optimize cheese sales in low and high income stores, and in different ethnic neighborhoods.
American Drug, one of the largest US drugstore retailers, had its marketing team assess shopping patterns at hundreds of its Osco and Savon Drug Stores on a market-by-market basis. Using scanned data, the company fine-tuned the storesâ€™ product mix, revamped store layout, and refocused marketing efforts to more closely align with local consumer demand. Depending on the local demographics, each store unit varies the amount and type of merchandise in such categories as hardware, electrical supplies, automotive supplies, cookware, over the counter drugs, and convenience goods.
Local marketing reflects a growing trend called grassroots marketing. Marketing activities concentrate on getting as close and personally relevant to individual customers as possible. Much of Nikeâ€™s initial success has been attributed to the ability to engage target consumers through grassroots marketing such as sponsorship of local school teams, expert-conducted clinics, and provision of shoes, clothing and equipment.
A large of local grassroots marketing is experiential marketing, which promotes a product or service not just by communicating its features and benefits, but by also connecting it with unique and interesting experiences. One marketing commentator describes experiential marketing this way: â€œThe idea is not to sell something, but to demonstrate how a brand can enrich a customerâ€™s lifeâ€?.
Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts is trying to recharge its faded brand mage through experiential marketing aimed not only at creating new customer experiences, but also at getting customers to kindle nostalgia for their own childhood experiences with the brand.